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Unpacking CAA’s top 12 tips for seamless airport travel

Between lost luggage and unexpected flight changes, travelling is pretty stressful. But with a little planning ahead, and some advice from CAA, you can minimize your travel worries. Let’s unpack 12 hacks for seamless airport travel

Take advantage of digital check-in and boarding passes

To save time, check-in for your flight online. Most airlines allow you to check in 24 hours before your flight, meaning you can head straight to security when you arrive at the airport.  

Avoid the stress of missing travel documents by downloading digital copies. Keep everything you need handy on your electronic device to ensure nothing is forgotten. It’s also a good idea to invest in a power bank before heading off to the airport. 

Book your seats ahead of time

If your airline offers it, book your seat early. Whether you want the window views or the aisle to stretch your legs, get the seat and the comfort you want. Plus, by choosing your seat early, you won’t be stuck in the back beside the bathroom. 

Prepare for the security check

While waiting in line for security checks, get yourself ready. Separate your laptop and electronics and remember to take laptops out of their sleeve. Take off any coats, belts, or jewelry ahead of time, and untie stubborn laces. If your shoes have metal arches, take them off. Pack liquids separately in a plastic bag and have them handy to pull out at security. 

Reserve your airport parking ahead of time

Save time and stress with Park’N Fly when flying out of Ottawa’s YOW airport. CAA Members save 10% when they book ahead online, and 25% on drive-up rates¹ 

Across Canada, Park’N Fly is available at airports in Toronto, Winnipeg, Leduc, and Richmond.

Have snacks and entertainment ready to go

On long flights, hydration is key. Bring an empty, reusable water bottle to fill up once you’re through the gate. Pack your own snacks to avoid long airport restaurant lines. 

Hot tip 1: Ensure you preload all your entertainment for the flight and airport wait. Airport Wi-Fi can be unreliable or have a fee to use, so download movies from streaming sites, podcasts, playlists or news articles before your flight. 

Hot tip 2: Using your devices to keep you entertained can drain your battery quickly. But instead of using public charging stations at airports and hotels, use your battery pack. Why? You risk “juice jacking,” where people can steal phone information using malware and monitoring software.

Don't assume every carry-on bag and personal item size is the same

You’re allowed one carry-on and one small personal item on a flight. But not all carry-ons are treated equally. Each airline has its own allowed dimensions. Don’t assume your bags are fine, check the dimensions ahead.  

In need of new luggage? Visit a CAA Store for all your travel accessories needs. CAA Members save up to 20%²

Check your passport expiry date before you book

Did you know that several countries require your passport to still be valid six months after your travel date? Check the guidelines of the country you are visiting and make sure your passport is valid before your travel date.  

Right now, renewing a passport is taking longer than usual. Renew your passport several months before you plan to travel. Plus, each destination has different documents and requirements. Do your research to make sure you fully understand what you need and are prepared for your trip.  

Have you been putting off renewing your passport because of the long waits? Make it one step easier with CAA. Visit a CAA Store to get your passport photos printed. CAA Members enjoy exclusive savings when printing their photos.

Expect flight schedule changes

It is always a good idea to check the status of your flight before heading to the airport. Subscribe to airline text messages to receive an immediate notification of any changes. Book any connecting flights with more than the usual buffer to allow time for any delays.  

Before you book, confirm change and cancellation policies. Many airlines and hotels have been more flexible with refunds and changes to bookings. However, make sure you understand any key dates related to cancellations and changes. Also, make sure you understand the circumstances and what you’re entitled to after cancelling. 

For help navigating unexpected changes, book your trip with a CAA Travel Consultant.

Add a tracker to your checked bags

With stories of lost luggage popping up everywhere, consider a GPS tracker. Tile and Apple both have GPS trackers that you can pack into your checked bags.

Consider packing a carry-on bag instead of checking luggage

Baggage delays mean your luggage may not arrive with you, or it might take extra time to be unloaded. Consider packing light and travelling with a carry-on.  

Hot tip for carry-on packing? Follow the 3-1 rule: three ounces of liquid, gel, aerosol, cream or paste that fit in one quart-sized resealable bag.  

If you are checking luggage, keep your essentials in hand. Have hygiene essentials, medication and a few changes of clothes packed into your carry-on in case of lost luggage.

Expect longer wait times at the airport

The old standard of arriving at an airport one hour before takeoff for domestic flights no longer applies. CAA recommends arriving for domestic flights 2.5 hours early, and 4.5 hours early for international travel.  

When in doubt, you can check wait times at Canadian airports with the Candian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA). CATSA updates their website with wait times every two minutes. 

Get travel insurance and check the details of what you’re covered for

When planning your travel, don’t forget one of the most important things in your carry-on, travel insurance.  

Whether you’re travelling to another province for the weekend, or heading overseas for a few weeks, there is a CAA Travel Insurance plan that is right for you. Accidents can happen anywhere, and any time, so it’s best to expect the unexpected. Plus, CAA Members save up to 20%³ on travel insurance. Get a quick quote online.

  1. Valid CAA/BCAA/AMA membership must be used at time of purchase at participating locations or online (where applicable). One offer per Member, per visit. No cash value. Offer calculated on pre-tax amount and cannot be combined with other offers or promotions unless otherwise specified. Discount is applied after all other eligible discounts and pre-tax. Offer availability subject to discontinuation or change without notice. Trademarks and registered trademarks are property of their respective owners. Additional restrictions and conditions may apply. *10% savings off the website rate are applicable on daily and weekly airport parking reservations where the CAA Member number is entered in the website reservation discount field. **Save 25% off the drive up (regular retail/rack) rate when the CAA Member presents their CAA Member card at checkout and no reservation is made. See Park’N Fly locations for full details. All rates and surcharges are subject to applicable taxes and cannot be discounted. Offer cannot be combined with any other offer or discount. Offer not applicable with Aeroplan points program. Partners and/or offers are subject to change without notice. Conditions may apply. CAA discount not available at Park’N Fly Montreal locations. Must be a current CAA Member in good standing (CAA Membership dues paid in full by membership expiry date).
  2. Terms and conditions apply. Partners and offers are subject to change without notice. Price shown does not include tax. Offer is not available on International Driving Permits, passport photos, attraction tickets, travel insurance, or travel purchases. CAA Everyday and CAA Classic® Members save ten percent (10%), CAA Plus® Members save fifteen percent (15%), and CAA Premier® Members save twenty percent (20%). Up to twenty percent (20%) discount is not combinable with the Member Exclusive Collection.
  3. CAA Travel Insurance is underwritten by Orion Travel Insurance Company, a CAA Company. Certain exclusions, limitations and restrictions apply. Subject to change without notice. A Medical Questionnaire may be required to purchase travel insurance. Quotes are valid for 30 days. Applies to CAA Members in good standing (CAA Membership dues paid in full by Membership expiry date). Up to twenty percent (20%) savings applies to the total premium excluding applicable taxes. Minimum premium applies. Subject to change without notice. Excludes Visitors to Canada Insurance. CAA Everyday, Classic®, and Plus® Members save 10%. CAA Premier® Members save 20% at CAA Stores or by calling 1-800-267-8713. CAA Premier Members save 10% and earn 10% in CAA Dollars® when booking online.
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